Protestants

The Faith That Made the Modern World

Publisher: Viking
On the 500th anniversary of Luther’s theses, a landmark history of the revolutionary faith that shaped the modern world. 

"Ryrie writes that his aim 'is to persuade you that we cannot understand the modern age without understanding the dynamic history of Protestant Christianity.' To which I reply: Mission accomplished."
–Jon Meacham, author of American Lion and Thomas Jefferson

Five hundred years ago a stubborn German monk challenged the Pope with a radical vision of what Christianity could be. The revolution he set in motion toppled governments, upended social norms and transformed millions of people's understanding of their relationship with God. In this dazzling history, Alec Ryrie makes the case that we owe many of the rights and freedoms we have cause to take for granted--from free speech to limited government--to our Protestant roots.

Fired up by their faith, Protestants have embarked on courageous journeys into the unknown like many rebels and refugees who made their way to our shores. Protestants created America and defined its special brand of entrepreneurial diligence. Some turned to their bibles to justify bold acts of political opposition, others to spurn orthodoxies and insight on their God-given rights. Above all Protestants have fought for their beliefs, establishing a tradition of principled opposition and civil disobedience that is as alive today as it was 500 years ago. In this engrossing and magisterial work, Alec Ryrie makes the case that whether or not you are yourself a Protestant, you live in a world shaped by Protestants.

PRAISE FOR

"A masterly history. . . Rare is the historian who is as instructive about Christianity in Asia as he is about churches in the West, yet Ryrie manages both." - The Wall Street Journal

"In this compelling and sweeping book, Alec Ryrie charts the history of one of the greatest forces in the making of modernity: the rise of the Protestant faith and ethos. Without it, one is hard-pressed to envision the spread of capitalism or of democracy. Ryrie writes that his aim 'is to persuade you that we cannot understand the modern age without understanding the dynamic history of Protestant Christianity.' To which I reply: Mission accomplished." - Jon Meacham, author of American Lion and Thomas Jefferson

"A sweeping, wonderful book.... We take for granted what we have. We no longer understand that the world wasn't always this way, that we didn't always have things like freedom of speech, freedom of religion, or the concept of limited government." - Eric Metaxas

"Learned and lively...Ryrie credits Protestants with playing significant roles in the spread of free speech and the placement of conscience ahead of government dictates throughout Europe and across what eventually became the United States...Throughout the sweeping narrative, he offers his well-considered opinions about how the Bible fits into the teachings of various Protestant denominations.... Rarely has an author of such deep faith offered such a tolerant, engaging history of any religion." - Kirkus Reviews (starred)

"Comprehensive and highly readable... Ryrie is one of the world's leading authorities on the Protestant Reformation. . . He is a particularly graceful and humane writer -- a very kind person, you feel -- qualities that serve him well in a history this divisive and contentious." - Dallas Morning News

"Informative and stimulating... Ryrie is as eloquent as he is erudite." - Financial Times

"To cover the story of Protestantism in just 514 pages might seem recklessly task. But Ryrie has succeeded magnificently. He writes with the affection of an insider and the judgment of a first-class historian, and is excellent at conveying the sheer excitement, passion and violence that have marked Protestantism's story." - The Sunday Times

"What a treat this book is. Its scholarship showcases one of the leading historians of Protestantism writing today, but the delight of it is the crisp prose, cool wit, wise judgements and sheer scope from the gates of Wittenberg to the streets of Seoul.  Ryrie has a gift for showing how the history of religion is the history of people, in all their baffling, frightening and endearing variety."  - Diarmaid MacCulloch, author of Reformation and Christianity

"An astonishment of narrative sweep and close analysis, transforming a familiar subject into one not seen before, Protestants is a breathtakingly original charting of the God-driven current running below the surface of the West, and, now, of the world. In its triumphs and tragedies, Alec Ryrie illuminates faith, yes; but the real revelation here is human life itself - its intelligence, open-endedness, hope." - James Carroll, author of Christ Actually and Constantine's Sword

"This is a book of breathtaking range and penetrating insight. It will shape our perception of the Reformation and its long shadow for years to come."  - Andrew Pettegree, author of Brand Luther

"Protestants is spectacularly good. Ryrie writes with empathy but without illusions; his trademark combination of wit and erudition makes the journey as enjoyable as it is enlightening." - Prof. Peter Marshall, author of Heretics and Believers

“Ryrie's agile mind, pithy style and energetic narrative bring 500 years of Protestant history to life and carries us into the present global era. Protestants is shrewd, incisive and proceeds at an astonishing pace. If you wish to buy one book to understand the impact Martin Luther has had on the modern world, this is it.”
–Bishop Graham Kings, Mission Theologian in the Anglican Communion

"This sweeping and thought-provoking book may prove a bible of the Protestant quincentenary.”
--Booklist (starred)